NJM Blog

Fun Things to Do in Pennsylvania

American Civil War bronze cannon weathered with age to a pale greenish hue rests at Gettysburg National Military Park, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania is rich in culture and history with fine art museums and iconic landmarks. For lovers of the great outdoors, it's home to 121 state parks — many of which feature campsites, cabins, and recreational lakes. In addition, there are more than two dozen sites, trails, and heritage areas managed by the National Park Service. Here's a list of some of the most interesting travel destinations in the Keystone State:

Art Museums

Philadelphia Museum of Art – features works of American, Asian, and European art, including masters like Van Gogh, Rembrandt, and Monet. Before you enter, you can pose with the Rocky statue and run up those famous 72 steps that lead to the museum. Philadelphia Museum of Art (philamuseum.org)

Barnes Foundation (Philadelphia) – billed as one of the world's greatest collections of impressionist, post–impressionist & modern art, includes scores of masterpieces by Matisse, Cezanne, Degas, Renoir, and Picasso. Events and Exhibitions | What's On at the Barnes Foundation

Brandywine River Museum of Art (Chadds Ford) – often referred to as the "Wyeth Museum" for its extensive collection of three generations of American artists from the same family — N.C., Andrew, and Jamie Wyeth. Museum | Brandywine Conservancy and Museum of Art

Rodin Museum (Philadelphia) – houses one of the most comprehensive public collections of the great French sculptor outside of France. The museum features over 140 bronzes, marbles, and plasters — including "The Thinker". Rodin Museum

Andy Warhol Museum (Pittsburgh) – this seven–story building is home to the most extensive collection in the U.S. of a single artist — nearly 3,000 works of the pop culture icon. The Andy Warhol Museum

Other Museums

Erie Maritime Museum – located on the shores of Lake Erie, this museum explores the history of Pennsylvania's only true lake port. The U.S.S Niagara, a 19th–century warship, is the star attraction. Erie Maritime Museum

Frank Frazetta Museum (East Stroudsburg) – dedicated to the "godfather of fantasy art" whose work included the covers of science fiction paperbacks, comic books, and albums. As an added treat, a Franzetta family member may conduct your tour. Frazetta Art Museum (frazettamuseum.com)

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania (Strasburg) – learn the rich history of the development of railroad systems in the commonwealth. More than 100 locomotives and vintage railroad cars, and operating model trains are on display to wow the kids. Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania | Real Trains. Real History. Real Excitement. (rrmuseumpa.org)

Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum (Philadelphia) – a must-see if you're a sports car buff. It features over 65 historically significant cars, including Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Bugatti, Mercedes, Jaguar, Bentley, Porsche, and Aston Martin. Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum | Ranked #1 in the world. (simeonemuseum.org)

Jimmy Stewart Museum (Indiana) – situated in his hometown, honors the iconic American actor with memorabilia from such classic films as "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" and "It's a Wonderful Life." The Jimmy Stewart Museum — A Must See For Film Buffs & Jimmy Fans


Flight 93 National Memorial (Stoystown) – commemorates the heroic actions of passengers on American Airlines Flight 93. The Tower of Voices, a 93–foot monument, contains 40 wind chimes representing the number of passengers. Flight 93 National Memorial (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)

Gettysburg National Military Park – site of the largest battle of the Civil War. You can tour the 1,328 monuments, memorials, marks, and plaques honoring the troops who fought and died there. Be sure to visit the museum and heritage center. Gettysburg National Military Park (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)

Independence Hall (Philadelphia) – birthplace of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. You can even stand in the room where the Declaration of Independence was signed. Along with the nearby Liberty Bell, they are some of the most iconic symbols of our nation's founding. Visiting Independence Hall — Independence National Historical Park (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)

The National Civil War Museum (Harrisburg) – this museum has a collection of more than 24,000 Union and Confederate artifacts and archival materials. The museum seeks to educate visitors on the events that lead to war, the war itself, and the aftermath of the conflict. National Civil War Museum | Harrisburg, PA Civil War Museum

Valley Forge National Historical Park – a popular recreational area for walkers and bicyclists. You can view George Washington's headquarters and recreated log cabins, where 12,000 members of his Continental Army encamped during a brutal winter in 1777–78. Valley Forge National Historical Park (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)

Recreational Parks

Ohiopyle State Park – stretching across three townships in Fayette County, this park features two natural waterslides. It offers whitewater rafting for the adventurous, family–friendly river trips, kayaking, and canoeing. There's also plenty of trails for hiking and biking. Ohiopyle State Park

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (Bushkill) – this hiking spot encompasses 70,000 acres and receives over 4.5 million visitors annually. It features an abundance of wildlife, lush vegetation, and breathtaking views. Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)

Presque Isle State Park (Erie) – located along Lake Erie, you can enjoy the beaches for sunning and swimming or hit the water for boating and fishing. An added perk: it's known for rare bird species appearing during migration. Presque Isle State Park

Cherry Springs State Park (Coudersport) – located in the Pennsylvania Wilds of north–central Pa., this park claims to have the darkest skies along the east coast, making it a popular destination for astronomers and amateur stargazers. Go in late September to see the Northern Lights. Cherry Springs State Park

Lower Delaware National Wild and Scenic River – located between I–80 in Portland, Pa., and I–95 at Washington's Crossing, this is a popular destination for kayakers and anglers alike. You can also hike and bike on the trails along the river through historic towns. Lower Delaware National Wild and Scenic River (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)

If museums and parks aren't to your liking, there are many other activities. For starters, you can catch a major league or minor league game, visit a zoo or botanical garden, spend a day at an amusement park, or taste local culinary offerings. For more information, go to visitpa.com.